Tips & Tricks
By Tim Fisher, About.com Guide
We all know that our computers don't always act the way we would like them to. Sometimes they frustrate us with their shortcomings and other times they annoy us with their "I know better" attitudes.
What most people don't realize, however, is that nearly all of these problems we have with our computers are solvable (or at least manageable) with simple tweaks here and there. It doesn't matter if you use it for work, play, or something in between - these resources will help you get the most out of the time you spend on your computer.
Optimize Windows XP
Whether by your own installation or on a new computer, Windows XP doesn't come configured just for you. In fact, it probably isn't ready for use out-of-the-box by anyone at all! By default, a number of options are turned on that no one really uses and other settings are configured in ways that benefit very few.
Spend some time using some of these resources to better configure your Windows XP PC. These small changes can help speed up your computer, better prepare you for disaster, and make your daily experience using your computer a little less frustrating.
- Disable Error Reporting
- Disable Taskbar Button Grouping
- Disable the Automatic Restart on System Failure
- Disable the Splash Screen
Speed Up Windows Vista
Windows Vista is a huge visual improvement over Windows XP - its animated window motions, visual Alt-Tab functions, and overall more appealing user interface make it quite the eye candy. There are feature improvements too like a better search function, desktop gadget support, and a whole lot more.
But do you know what many have noticed? Windows Vista can be slow - very slow. Even if your computer hardware exceeds the recommendations, you may find that Windows Vista can sometimes move at a snail's pace. If you haven't been happy with Windows Vista's response time, give some of these tips a try.
- Change the Start Menu Power Button Action
- Automatically Log On To Windows Vista
- Disable Low Disk Space Checks
- Disable Thumbnail Previews in Windows Vista Explorer
Hardware & Software Testing Tools
Often times during the troubleshooting process, you can get to a point where you suspect that a particular piece of hardware or part of your computer may be malfunctioning. If you don't have a working spare part around to test with (like the computer fix-it shops do), how can you determine if something is wrong?
Luckily, many of the systems and important pieces of hardware in your computer are easily testable - by you! The diagnostic tools below can help you quickly determine what is or isn't the cause of your problem.